AP NEWS

Montana tribes could access coal fund loans under proposal

February 19, 2019

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow Native American tribal governments to take out loans from the state Coal Tax Fund for infrastructure projects.

Non-tribal local governments already have access to the fund, which loaned $20.6 million last year.

The Missoulian reports the bill by Democratic Rep. Shane Morigeau of Missoula would make the state’s seven federally recognized tribes and the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe eligible, too.

The Montana House Appropriations Committee heard the bill on Monday.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes council member Carole Lankford says tribal governments have few chances to impose taxes or issue tax-exempt bonds. She says the loan program would allow tribes to accomplish more.

Morigeau says the addition of the tribes would not affect other governments’ ability to access the funds.